Vomghetti con Cacio e Pepe

Reader,

We meet again. It has been a long, soulful silence—a silence punctuated, no doubt, by your thoughts of me, those endless thoughts, those carnal thoughts, thoughts of radishes and gristle, of dirt and sweet plumjuice dribbling down the chin of Time—and during this fruitful silence, this nine months, if you will, of my Ideabearing, I have borne a child. A recipe. A child-recipe. This recipe is my child. I have not actually experienced the miracle of childbirth. But the agony—yes, yes, Reader. I bring you a dish so delectable, so nuanced, that to taste it is agony. Agony of the tongue and of the soul.

Agony.

Cheese.

Reader, hast thou truly experienced Cheese? The addictive malt of fermenting cow’s milk? The mouldy stench of an expensive Bleu? Notice, Reader, how I spell “blue”: bleu. That is the French spelling. French like my soul.

French.

To make my Vomghetti, you will need a pristine pitcher of creamy milk, fresh from the nipples of a cow. Allow a tomcat to lap at the milk dribbling down the sides of the pitcher—this will flavor your Vomghetti with that indescribable something known as je ne sais pas. Mix the farm-fresh milk with a pile of stone-ground wheat (ah, these stones, these ancient stones, tossed violently after fleeing Huguenots, so serene, so naïve, soaking up the sun—ah, life, life! Thou art an unpredictable mistress).

Nipples.

Using your own ten fingers or the paws of the tomcat, form the flour-milk paste into strands of beautifully imperfect pasta. Cook until done. What is Done, Reader? Done is when you Feel that it is Done.

Toss the Vomghetti with olive oil. Sprinkle with several cracks of fresh pepper and a generous helping of Parmesan cheese. Consume. 

Traumatizing Moments From My Past, Volume 6: The Worst Day Ever

Let me tell you about the worst day of my life.

I was sound asleep, having one of those clichéd teen nightmares (my crush sweeping me onto a white stallion and covering me with kisses), when my iPhone began ringing. Although the call was one every young author dreams of receiving (I had just won the Pulitzer for my novel Breakups and Makeup: A Tween Murder Mystery), it was totally irritating because I’d been up super late last night winning the Young Pianists of America Sonata Competition with a never-before-heard rendition of Beethoven’s posthumous Ninety-Ninth Sonata in All the Flats and All the Sharps. So I was, like, totally exhausted and when the Pulitzer people tried to get me to say something witty that they could use for my Wikipedia page, I just screamed “YOU DON’T EVEN KNOW ME!” and went back to sleep.

I woke to the smell of my favorite breakfast: waffles, caviar, and crème brûlée. It was really hard for me to eat, though, because I was so nervous about the Miss Teen USA finals happening that afternoon. After my daily massage, I locked myself in the bathroom and sobbed out all the black angst in my soul. I just want to be normal, I thought. Being thirteen was really hard for me, because all my friends were covered in oozing pimples and inflamed pustules and my own skin was clear, pink, and glowed like the inner heart of a seashell. Do you have any idea what it’s like to be the prettiest girl in your class? IT’S AWFUL. Boys always want to kiss you and teachers do, too!

After mourning my perfect complexion, and desperately tugging at my thick, chestnut locks in order to make them a little frizzier (all my friends had frizzy hair! Why couldn’t I?), I rubbed a little Crème de la Mer into my cheeks and slumped downstairs. My mother/personal chef/trainer called from the hot tub, “Tori, there’s a man here to see you!” and when I opened the front door, clad in my Oscar de la Renta silk robe, Hugh Jackman was standing there with a dozen roses. I whispered, violently, “Hugh, I told you never to speak to me again!” and a look of such devastation crossed his face that I thought my heart would never be whole again. He held out the roses as a single, perfect tear trickled through his five-o’clock shadow. I took them and gently shut the door in his face. I never date movie stars; they’re so emotionally needy.

The Miss Teen USA competition went fairly well, and after I accepted the crown and underwent a grueling round of publicity photos, like, the worst thing EVER happened. I saw my boyfriend holding hands with another woman! I stormed up to him and shrieked, “PRINCE WILLIAM! LET GO OF THE QUEEN OF ENGLAND’S HAND IMMEDIATELY!” and he was like “But she’s my grandmo—” and I said in this really sweet, murderous voice, “Willikins, what’s the number one rule for dating me?” and he bowed his head and murmured, “You are first above all, m’lady,” and he looked so totally cute that I forgave him immediately and let him buy me an island to make it up to me. But there were all these people in loincloths on the island and they totally freaked me out so I had them shipped to Mississippi.

And then my personal architect came to me with the worst news OF ALL TIME. He said my dream bedroom would be impossible to build. I was like, “Um, talk to the hand!” and he was like, “Tori, your design literally defies the laws of physics,” and I started crying because how was I supposed to pass physics? I was thirteen! All I wanted was a master bedroom suspended from a hot air balloon over a volcanic lake with easy access to the mall. It’s like nobody had anything to do that day except make my life difficult.

So I was really upset, obv, even when my mom poured me a glass of champagne to calm me down. There was only one thing that could make me feel better, and that was my Number Two Boo. (Don’t judge me for dating around—I was thirteen! What, did you think I was going to marry Prince William? Hello!). So I called up Mark Zuckerberg—hey, he was super cute at fourteen—and we walked around the block holding hands and it was SO romantic. When we got to our favorite park bench, I snuggled up next to him and whispered in his ear, “Marky, I wish there was a website where I could friend you and then put “in a relationship” with you and write cute things on your wall every two seconds and make my profile picture a really flattering one of us where I look just a little cuter than you, like not too much cuter because I want my friends to be jealous of how cute my boyfriend is but obviously I don’t want anyone to think you’re the hotter one because, awkward. Wouldn’t that be so romantic?” He nodded, and maybe this is just hindsight, but I swear he had a glint in his eye.

That night, as I splashed my face with Evian, I couldn’t help writing a poem that described my feelings about the terrible day. It was later picked up by the New Yorker but I mean, ugh! 

A Really Exciting Career Change!

My parents always told me I was a ridiculously talented piano player, and growing up in a petri dish of delusional-ego-breeding was wonderful for a little thing called my self esteem. I can do anything! I just know it! So you’ll be happy to hear that I have decided to become a comic strip artist.

Writing is hard, but comics are super easy, everyone knows that. I happen to have a firm grasp on what makes a successful comic strip, which is how I know I’m gonna be a great artist. Look, I even DREW A COMIC STRIP about DRAWING A SUCCESSFUL COMIC STRIP. Click to enlarge.

I mean, RIGHT?!? I ain’t writing no’ mo’. This is my meal ticket.

How to Measure Out Your Life With Coffee Spoons

There comes a time in an individual’s life when, wallowing in the existential muck, he or she is forced to take a step back and ask in mournful tones: How many coffee spoons would it take to measure out my life?

Thankfully, I’ve written a handy guide to measuring out your life with coffee spoons, no disturbing the universe or scuttling across the floor of silent seas required! Simply print out the eight easy instructions below, fill in the blanks, and add the spoons up.

1. Good morning, gorgeous! Instead of an alarm clock, rig up a device that drops coffee spoons on your head at the crack of dawn. How many coffee spoons must clang on your forehead before you are fully awake?
NUMBER OF SPOONS: __

2. Late night? De-puff your eyes by gently pressing a cold coffee spoon against each eyelid. Leave until the coldness dissipates.
NUMBER OF SPOONS: 2

3. Stir cream and sugar into your morning coffee. This should require only one coffee spoon. What are you, pretentious or something?
NUMBER OF SPOONS: 1

4. Go about your daily business to the uplifting melody of a coffee spoon chime. Attach 2-8 coffee spoons to a clothes hanger using strong household twine. Hang your chime in front of a window where it will catch the breeze. The more spoons you add, the louder the sound will be. (Please note: more than 20 spoons may drive you to insanity). Vary the length and breadth of your spoons for delightful tonal contrast.
NUMBER OF SPOONS: __

5. Remember to stay hydrated by drinking 8 glasses (384 teaspoons) of water a day. Hold each spoon steadily beneath a slow trickle of water until spoon is full. Lower your lips to the spoon to avoid spillage.
NUMBER OF SPOONS: 384

6. Into each life some rain must fall. Be sure to reinforce your drugstore umbrella by binding your sturdiest coffee spoons along each spoke. If rain boots are currently out of your budget range, elevate your shoes and avoid puddles by strapping coffee spoons width-wise along the sole.
NUMBER OF SPOONS USED DURING A THUNDERSTORM: __

7. In case of emergency, insert coffee spoons between your fingers and use as makeshift wolverine claws. Should you lack the 8 coffee spoons necessary to ward off attackers because you used too many on your homemade wind chime (YOU WERE WARNED ABOUT THAT), one or two spoons should be sufficient to redirect the sun’s blazing rays into the eyes of your opponent, buying you enough time to sprint away. (Please note: the latter technique is only doable with well-shined coffee spoons. Make sure to stock up on Weiman Royal Sterling Silver Polish!)
NUMBER OF SELF-DEFENSE SPOONS: __

8. It’s been a long day. Before falling into bed like a patient etherised upon a table, treat yourself to a nice dinner out. Bring a strong canvas tote to carry enough sterling silver coffee spoons to pay for your meal, and a few more to bludgeon the waiter if he protests your form of payment.
NUMBER OF SPOONS: __

TOTAL: ___

The Commuter’s Workout

I adore clip art. You know this was used for a presentation on Pumping Up Your Resume or How to Sprint Ahead of the Competition.

It’s bikini season! Since the nearest large body of water is infested with dead bodies and invasive species of (MAN-EATING?!) fish – and since I don’t know a single person with a pool – I don’t spend much time in a bikini, but perhaps your life is not as gutted and sunless as mine. If that’s the case, you’ll be happy to hear that I’ve compiled a quick and easy guide to rocking your best summer bod ever. No fancy gyms or Shake Weight required! The Commuter’s Workout requires nothing but the structures of the vibrant, pulsing metropolis around you.

Warm-Up

HOLD THAT TRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Core Training

The man next to you is picking his nose. No, no, no, no, no, no, no – don’t put it THERE! Contract every muscle in your body and remain as small as possible to avoid touching the offending object for the duration of your commute.

Flexibility Training

The rush-hour hordes are particularly sweaty today. Loosen those hamstrings by ducking beneath the odorous underarm of a steaming tourist. Stretch sideways, engaging your adductor magnus, to avoid that harried businessman with the large, dark stains around each nipple. Stretch just to the point of discomfort. The feeling of tightness should diminish as you hold the stretch.

Cardio

OH NO. Is it? – it is! – a Save the Whales guy with a clipboard! Dash into the nearest alleyway and take a 6-block detour to avoid the slightest contact, including but not limited to eye contact, hand contact, inappropriate jokes, desperate jokes, and being forced to see the depressing way his smile falters as yet another harried American bludgeons him out of the way.

Cool-Down

That homeless person looks sad. Whatever, he’s totally faking it. But his cardboard sign says he has a baby daughter starving to death at home—and is it written in blood? No, he’s probably just a drug addict. Are you racial profiling? Keeping your White Guilt engaged, amble by at a pace that suggests “I’m sympathetic to your plight. Look, I don’t have anywhere important to go either,” while shaking your head slowly (loosening up your sternocleidomastoids) to indicate that you have no change.